Lies Of Unworthiness


Who am I?


I stumble with the answer to this question. As I sit here thinking, “Who am I?” I can very vividly recall who I thought I was growing up. I grew up thinking “I am a big fat ugly pig who no one likes.” My so-called friends would play with me on occasion when forced by our moms, but always in private. At school, in front of others, I was ignored and left alone. I was an outcast and I started to hang out with the other “outcasts” among the student body. They became my friends, people who I could help. People with intellectual and developmental disabilities, and immigrants who barely spoke English. This began my helping for a living. I was someone at last, I was needed. In reality, it was them who helped me.

Fast forward to adulthood and I remained the fat ugly pig who felt unwanted. I shunned the Overeaters Anonymous crowd thinking I was better than them and they needed help. I came to learn 2 years ago that I was one of them and I needed help too. This helper became the client doing everything she was instructed until I became less fat and therefore, I hoped a little less ugly. I went on a quest to find a long mother-of-the-bride dress that would make me look thin & therefore pretty. I did find a dress but still felt fat and ugly in it, noting all of my flaws as I stood in the dressing room looking in the mirror. Following this find, two of my friends picked out a few knee-length form-fitting dresses for me to try on. Being the compliant friend, I tried them on and went along with the ruse to buy the dresses. All the while thinking, “don’t take the tags off because tomorrow I will return the dresses.” I further thought, “a fat woman like me doesn’t deserve to wear dresses like this.”

I returned home and the next day put on the dress for my husband, who immediately raised his eyebrows and commented, “you look beautiful.” I couldn’t believe my ears. He has never spontaneously commented on my clothes before. I started to think, “could he be right? Could I be beautiful?” When he left the room I stood before the mirror, something I used to avoid at all costs. I looked at myself and thought for the first time in my life, “I really am a beautiful creation of God.” I took this thought to God for several weeks during my morning meditation and 2-way prayer time, asking God if it was really true. I have slowly discovered that underneath what I saw as a roll of fat was a beautiful woman who longed to belong somewhere in the world. I am now discovering that my new body is only an outward sign of an inward reality. I am a beautiful woman of God. I’ve always been a beautiful woman of God, covered up by lies of unworthiness. My so-called “outcast” friends growing up knew my worthiness long before I could discover it for myself. They treated me like I belonged, I was truly loved and cared for by them.

So, who am I? I am a beautiful creation of God. I am a woman who deserves to feel pretty and beautiful in my dresses, no matter my shape or size. In fact, I have come to love my mother-of-the-bride dress and will wear it with love and dignity. I am worthy of recovery, friendship, and

love. I am no longer an “outcast” alone in this world, I am among my many recovery friends who are not “outcasts” either. We are all beautiful creations of God who belong in this world. We are wanted, not only by each other, but by a loving Creator. We really are beautiful creations of God, living our lives beyond our wildest dreams.


Lisa K

Happy New Me! Happy New You!

This is the time of year when we all look forward to the new year full of opportunities, hoping to grasp one or two of them for ourselves. We make New Year’s resolutions again hoping to become something better than before. What are those opportunities we hope come our way? What are the resolutions we make to hopefully gain a new body, health, wealth, relationships, etc. What I didn’t realize until recently reading through my past journal entries for January 1st of each year, is that two years ago my resolution was not one filled with hope, quite the opposite.

My journal entry for New Year’s Day 2021 was this … “I can barely look at myself in the mirror. It disgusts me. I see myself as fat and ugly. Food has become everything to me. I binge 6 plus times a day on fast food, chocolate, pasta, cheese sauces, and the list goes on. I eat food off of other people’s plates and out of the trash. I sneak and steal food any chance I get. I can see many negative consequences of my eating habits – mainly weight gain, disgust at myself, difficulty with sex, looking & feeling like a pig when at a buffet, numerous body pains, breathing difficulties, I can’t walk more than a few feet and need to take several breaks walking up 1 flight of stairs in the house. I can’t put on my own shoes and my clothes don’t fit. Food makes me loathe myself. Food is killing me. My body and soul are both dying very quickly and I don’t know what to do about it. Not even OA is working, so is there any hope at all? I don’t think so. I’m just going to die. That’s what my new year will be, my death.”

As I type out my journal entry here tears are streaming down my face. I very vividly recall that moment sitting in my room writing out my discouragement and defeat. I had no hopes that year, no opportunities to grasp, nothing good to work towards. I recall thinking “Happy New Year! What’s so happy about it?”

The next day, on January 2, 2021 at 335 pounds and with a defeated heart, my husband and I had a consultation with Amanda at Shift. She identified with me. She shared that she too had been where I was, yet she was sitting across the screen with a smile on her face and very much alive. She gave me a glimpse of hope that I didn’t need to die. I knew I wanted to live, but didn’t know how. Through that zoom call, I started to want recovery more than anything else in my life. I was willing to go to any length for freedom. If Amanda told me that I would have hope by standing on my head, by gosh, I would have tried my best. I probably would have broken my neck, but what did I have to lose anyway. By the end of the call, I committed to enter the SHiFT food addiction treatment program. Maybe I could have a Happy New Year after all.

This began my earnest journey towards a new me. With renewed hope I set out to do everything that was suggested by my Shift team of counselors, accountability coaches, sponsor, and other recovering members. I balked often and grumbled under my breath, but I was not giving up this time. I did it all anyways. I learned what it truly means to be powerless over a disease and to surrender to a loving God. At first my surrender was to others’ suggestions. I

quickly understood that my surrender to others was really a surrender to God through them. I used all of the tools available to me to keep going, even when I didn’t want to. I wanted recovery like I saw from so many others at SHiFT. I wanted to live and now I was learning how. By the end of that first year I was living a new life. A life with significantly less weight to carry around. A life with friends and family who support me. A life with less work and more time for recovery. A life with more time for my health. A life with a loving God who never leaves my side. A life worth living. Happy New Me!

My New Year’s resolution this 2023 year is to continue to share my experience, strength, and hope in any way I can. I want for others the same hope and recovery that I received. I can’t help but shout from the rooftops what God has done for me. The program he has given me to heal my defeated heart and my wounded body. God has grown my desire to love and given me the courage to share myself with others, especially those who are hurting in this fatal disease of addiction. My hope and prayer is that you too may experience a Happy New You!


Happy New Year!


Lisa K.

Holiday Nostalgia

According to Merriam-Webster, nostalgia is “a wistful or excessively sentimental yearning for return to or of some past period or irrecoverable condition”.

Before recovery, I had a hard time with feelings of nostalgia. They used to overtake me. They had the power to disconnect me from the present, so much so that I was taken into lack of acceptance of it. Yet no matter how fond the memories, those too were never “good enough”. Inevitably, I would end up focusing instead on what could have or “should have” been. My experience of nostalgia was a confused mess of happiness, sadness and frustrated desire.

Recently, while searching for something in a drawer, I came across an envelope of old Christmas photos. Most of them were of my brother and I, in the 1970’s. In some, we are seated under the tree, dressed in flannel and smiling with gifts strewn about. In others, we are dressed in our finest, seated at the holiday dinner table. Suddenly, I found myself revisiting certain memories, which caused in me great feelings of nostalgia.

I remembered one day, several weeks before Christmas, in the late 1970s. My mother took my brother and I shopping for art supplies, to make homemade ornaments with clay. We spent a whole day at the kitchen table, the 3 of us shaping our ornaments by hand, painting them, baking them and sealing them. I was so proud of the ones that were made with my own, two little hands. I remember hanging them every year, for years and years to come. Although those ornaments have long since crumbled into broken bits and gone, I still remember all that went into making them…

I remembered that every year (maybe until age 14), I’d spend an entire Sunday in December, in the kitchen with my father. With one fork and his hands, he magically transformed a heap of flour and fresh cracked eggs into golden pasta dough. He turned the dough into wide ribbons on an old, hand crank machine. My job was to keep both arms outstretched for the long ribbons to be hung upon, until they were transferred to a floured, wooden board and cut into sheets. He used the sheets to make pans of lasagna that were taken to the freezer for safe keeping, until Christmas Day. But he always, always, baked a personal sized one, just for me to have that evening. Although I have not eaten pasta in nearly 5 years, it’s not the pasta that I yearn for…

I remembered my mother singing carols and coming down the stairs, beautifully dressed for church on Christmas Eve. I remembered our yearly tradition of going to midnight mass, then coming home to feast while watching the 1951 version of“ A Christmas Carol”. I haven’t been to church in years and my mother’s fancy dresses and high heels have long been retired. She’s still beautiful of course but I love remembering her exactly as she was, her long, flowing black hair, her painted red lips and sparkling green eyes…

I’m so fortunate that my family is still intact. However, all these years later, my aging parents are not the same, our lifestyles are not the same and although I am grateful for where I am today, I can’t help but have moments when I look back with a sense of longing for the past.

Back then, I could not have predicted what I would carry in my heart more than 40 years later and I owe this entirely to my program of recovery. Recovery showed me how to see the past with a new lens, allowing me to experience both past and present in a balanced way. Recovery taught me to accept the present with gratitude and awareness that these moments will one day, most certainly be, irrecoverable.

Wishing everyone a peaceful holiday.

Much love,


Seasons Change

Two weekends ago was Thanksgiving weekend here in Canada.

Late Saturday afternoon, I headed out for a leisurely drive to my parents ’house. It was a glorious fall day, the country roads lined with trees, full with leaves of red, orange, purple and yellow. Fall had officially arrived 2 weeks prior but the trees were only now fully reflecting the change of season. Driving past, they moved fast in my periphery, like a slideshow and before I knew it, so too did the memories of Thanksgiving’s past.

During my childhood years, my family would travel to spend the long weekend with relatives. It was a huge gathering of extended family and yet, in all those years with all those people, I carry only one memory that rivals my food memories.

The Erin Fall Fair.

Erin was the name of the town in which my relatives lived. I remember naively thinking that I’d be coming to this fair, every year, for the rest of my life and that our Thanksgiving tradition would never die.

As the years moved forward, my family continued the traditional weekend away. My vivid memories are mostly of the food … the obligatory golden roast turkey… my elderly aunt’s annual mandarin salad contribution… and an endless array of home baked desserts, the pinnacle of my long awaited eating spree. But the beloved fall fair was still there and now teen romance was in the mix. Aside from the food, the most exciting time was nightfall, when just “the cousins” and our partners would head to the fair. My boyfriend and I walked hand in hand, stealing as many kisses as possible without the adults around. I remember naively thinking that for the rest of my life, I’d be holding hands with this boy and our long weekend tradition would never die.

Over the next 10 years, my family continued the traditional weekend away and while the fair was still there, some of my family members were not. Back then it just seemed like, “that’s life” and for me, nothing about the weekend itself had changed. By now, all of “the cousins” were in our 20s and I had met the man who would become my fiancée. I couldn’t wait to introduce him at Thanksgiving weekend and walk the fair with him. I remember naively thinking this was just the first of many years to come, sharing this long weekend tradition.

The following year, my relatives sold their home and moved to a big city. Some of “the cousins” had married, some had moved… suddenly, things had changed. I remember feeling such grief. I wished I’d known what would be our last Thanksgiving with all the cousins in that house, in the tiny Town of Erin, walking through the fall fair. I wished I could go back, to catch what I’d missed…to savour more than just the food.

Over the next 20 years or so, life moved on and I had cultivated quite a career in hospitality. I spent every Thanksgiving deeply involved at work. I was managing a high end bakery, working double shifts and missing out on all the family gatherings. The years were passing and as “they” say, the seasons of my life had changed.

As I pulled into my parents ’driveway, I was back in the present. I opened their door and stepped inside. No smell of turkey roasting or pies baking. No relatives visiting. My mother stood at the top of the stairs, her health not allowing her to come down and greet me as she always has. My dad welcomed me, his sore shoulders rendering him unable to help with my bags. Penny (our pug) was sleeping so sound, her age preventing her from even hearing me come in. There was no naïve thinking, things had changed.

In that moment I realized, each of us is in a different season and the seasons are always changing. I was reminded how much of my life I took for granted, how much of it passed me by while living in active addiction and looking beyond the moment. Thankfully, I am now living my life in a season of recovery. I can’t change the past (nor would I want to) but I can acknowledge what is made possible in my life, only through a program of recovery.

It turns out, this was our last Thanksgiving with sweet Penny the pug, she passed 2 days later. I am so grateful that recovery gives me the ability to be fully present, to focus on who and what is in my life, right here, right now. Recovery gives me access to all that comes from living in the moment, in turn, allowing me to peacefully weather whatever comes when the seasons change.



Fragility As Strength In Recovery

What has happened to me?  When did this happen?  How did I get so fragile? These are some of the questions I’ve been asking myself (and others in my support network) lately.  I have been in recovery now most of my life…since I was 24.  Who was I before recovery?  I know I was a scared child.  Out of concern for keeping us safe, my mother instilled huge amounts of fear into my sister and me.  We were taught not to trust anyone…that the world was inherently a bad place where everyone was lying, cheating, stealing and out to get us.  I know I was terrified to go to school and leave my mom.  I cried and screamed.  I was a gentle soul, I know that.  I was soft inside…”a cream puff” so to speak.  I was very smart, did well in school, had a few friends and LOVED animals.  I would sit outside with the neighborhood cat asleep on my lap for long periods of time, when my friends were playing.  I was afraid of everything.  I got bullied for a short while in school.  The boys picked on me at my new school in 5th grade.  I cried a lot.  Then there was a turning point.   There was a time in about 7th or 8th grade when I decided it was too painful to go on like that.  I decided to change.  I somehow learned to shut that sensitive side of me down…turn it off.  I became the bully…the wise guy, the class clown, the instigator, the sneak & liar.  It was easier that way.  IT HURT LESS.  


I spent my high school years living a dual life-excelling at school, sports & clubs, while having an alter ego-the wise guy, the class clown, the instigator, the sneak & liar.  And now, alcohol, drugs, cigarettes & boys entered the mix.  I started skipping school & getting black out drunk on weekends with friends, running around with boys & men. Screw you, world!  You’re not going to hurt me!  I’ll hurt you first!  I don’t care about anyone!  I don’t need anyone!  And so it continued.  From that day forward, my outer persona changed.  Those of you who know me likely see the strong side of me-the clown, the brave one, the one who cusses & speaks her mind, the one who adventures out in the world and does things others fear. That is not the real me.


I am soft.  I am gentle.  I love & care deeply.  I hurt deeply.  I care what others think.  I want to help.  I am afraid…so very afraid…of everything…all the time.  And the way I manage is by functioning at a very high level…staying very busy.  I can do anything!  Watch me run with my hair on fire!  My family wonders at all I can accomplish in a day.  It is who I have been, at least on the outside, for decades.  I have a career of service to others.  I get paid to take care of others & help fix their problems.  I am uber competent.  I am smart, strong, determined, organized, motivated, energetic, resourceful, FIERCE…a force to be reckoned with!  I will mow down any obstacles in my way.  I will “get ‘er done” as they say here in the South.  Nothing seems to get in my way…at least not for too long.  Unstoppable.  And I have come to know & see myself in this way.


But things have changed in the last few years.  I am now 53.  I am a food addict.  My other addictions have been in remission for decades…but not this one.  I have had brief reprieves followed by years of relapse, of despair, of gaining 50 lbs, of self-hatred & remorse, of fear, self-doubt, anger at God & the world…all while remaining highly functioning where no one knew there was anything wrong!  I found Shift last year, in 2021.  I went to a week-long intensive in May.  And my life changed.  I was supported to take some time off of work after the intensive.  I filed for FMLA & took an entire month off, followed by working part-time for a while. Unheard of!   It was SO hard for me to let go of the fast pace…to take care of myself & let myself relax…slow down…gear down a few notches.  I started back to full-time work in January of this year.  I was rear-ended in early January but not seriously injured.  A sign?  A message?  Well, I don’t hear messages unless they’re blaring!  And my God knows how to turn up the volume!  I decided to start following my dream of getting an RV, obtaining a travel or telehealth job & going traveling.  I gave notice at my job at the end of February & 3 days later, got into a horrendous head-on collision & narrowly escaped alive.  I was hospitalized for almost a week with a mild head/brain injury from concussion that resulted in a very scary electrolyte imbalance.  I never went back to that job & have not worked full-time since.  I have a part-time telehealth job now.  I sold my condo, moved in with my mom who has terminal cancer, my RV travels are on hold & I got COVID pretty badly in July.


So here is the crux of my message.  Finally, Mary!  Get to the point!  LOL.  I am fragile.  I cannot run with my hair on fire anymore.  I get tired.  My body has been through a lot.  I am only 6 months out from a mild brain injury from the concussion.  My body was injured in the accident.  I am in menopause.  I have problems regulating my body temperature.  I am 53. I need naps, breaks, rest.  I am not working full-time right now.  I am very easily overstimulated, especially by noise.  I can’t multitask as well.  I can no longer carry the weight of the world on my shoulders.  I am a food addict.  My absolute priority is abstinence.  “Abstinence first…always.”  My food plan takes thought, time, consideration, planning, implementation, energy. My recovery behaviors take time, commitment, and determination.  Recovery IS a full-time job.  I have come full circle.  I am fragile once again.  I am as if a child. I have to take care of myself, set limits, set boundaries, sleep, rest, stay abstinent, prepare my food, attend meetings, exercise, work, be a good friend, daughter, sister, niece, sponsor, sponsee, member of several recovery programs, neighbor, citizen.  I am fierce in different ways!  I am strong in different ways!  I am aging.  Can I accept all of this?  What choice do I have?  I pray to my higher power to help me with accepting these things.  Let my life of service continue, but with self-care and recovery as my ultimate priorities.  I AM FRAGILE BUT STILL FIERCE!  Peace, my friends.  Here is a poem I wrote yesterday:




Fragile as a flower

Morning dew heavy on my petals

I’m frightened, Lord.


Fragile as a flower

Trying to stand strong in the wind

What happens if I fail?


Fragile as a flower

Needing roots and support

I can’t do this alone.


Fragile as a flower

No longer so strong

Can I ask for help?


Fragile as a flower

Afraid of my wilting

I turn my face to the sun.


Fragile as a flower

Strong in different ways now

Can I accept this change?


Fragile as a flower

I trust in my God.

I am perfect as I am.



Mary Anast, APRN

Certified Geriatric Nurse Practitioner

How Strong Am I?

“How strong are you?” and “Show me your muscles!” were phrases asked and heard in my family growing up. Strength in my family equated with physical size and I was happy to oblige the larger and larger girth that showed my strength. In my family strength not only meant physical size, but it also meant that there were no problems. You see, you can’t be strong and have a difficulty. We were an idyllic family, or so I was told. We were a happy family, or so I was told. A happy family with depression, workaholism, obesity run rampant, rage as a daily occurrence, and sexual indiscretions abounding. One BIG happy family.

I was reflecting on what the “problem” was that no one was talking about. It couldn’t be addiction, after all, no one was abusing alcohol or doing drugs, so I was told over and over again, “there is no addiction here.” Yet, sugar, flour, and fat poured out of the kitchen and into our mouths with the vigor of an alcoholic searching for a necessary drink, or the drug addict jonesing for the next hit. No addiction to be seen here. No acknowledgment of the rageaholics, workaholics, food addicts, porn addictions, or the denial that covered it all. In fact, 12-step groups were disdained and made fun of in my family. No one dare admit to being an addict. We were an idyllic family after all, better than the rest in our community.

Why the taboo around problems and most of all around addiction? It was because we were all too “strong” to admit defeat. No one wanted to upset the precariously teetering apple cart, full to the brim with problems and deformed wheels with chunks taken out from the wear and tear of life. Vulnerability was seen as a weakness to be avoided at all costs. We were taught that if we were vulnerable others would take advantage of us in horrible ways, never mind the terrible ways in which we treated each other. We were an idyllic family after all.

Addiction abounded because they were the most effective coping strategy we had. They did the job of keeping us all alive. Thank you, God, for addiction. It saved me many a time. My physical strength or at least wide girth made the pain hurt less. Until one day, addiction was no longer a saving grace but a huge disgrace.

It has taken me years to learn that my strength is not in my physical size or in my ability to deny problems. My weakness is my greatest strength. Strength is risking to surrender my addictive substances and behaviors to my loving and merciful Higher Power. Strength is admitting my powerlessness and defeat. Strength is being vulnerable with myself, my Higher Power, and others. Vulnerability is strength, great strength. It takes much courage to be vulnerable. That vulnerability allows me to trust that my addictions are no longer taboo to me. They are what have given me new life. They have set me on a path to freedom. Free to see myself more clearly. Free to love my life. Free to love others. I no longer live in an idyllic family. When I am asked “How strong am I?” My answer is clear, “As strong as I am vulnerable.”

Lisa K